## AKG 550 First Impressions

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Sat, 28 Jun 2014 21:59:16 -0400

The bad news - on forst listen there seems to be an ugly emphasis in the upper
mids.  And it makes saxophones and trumpets grate.  Which is bad news if you
want to listen to jazz on these.

Also, when I ran a frequency scan, there's some weird unmatched jump to one
side in a narrow high frequency band (I guess around 1kHz).  I don't think
this is audible, and since I've never done the scan on any other headphones I
don't know jow unusual it is.  But it seemed odd.

In general, when I first listened to these (on very limited equipment - the
best source I have while travelling is an ASUS netbook) the music seemed flat
and unexciting.

The good news - now I'm getting used to them a little (an hour or two of
listening in) and they're sounding much better.  The bass isn't emphasized at
all, but it's certainly there (more so than the 702s).  The treble isn't
perfect (these are the closed headphones that are supposed to sound open and
then don't, imho) but it's perhaps better than other closed cans (it certainly
feels better than I remember of the HD25s).

The build quality is great (although really the headband is just a band of
thin, springy metal, when you look at it, the padding makes it seem solid) and
I have had no issues with getting a good seal (for the bass).  The isolation
is pretty good.  And it's comfortable (but people with small heads, try before
you buy; I have a large noggin and the band is hardly extended at all).

When I take them off, I notice the pleather is warm and a little sweaty.  But
I don't notice any heat when they're on (then again, it's bloody freezing here
in Yorkshire at the end of June).

And switching back to jazz now, the upper mids sound better.  It's amazing how
you ears / brain adapt.  I'm really having to strain to hear what seemed so
bad at first.  If I didn't know better I'd swear these needed to burn-in :o)

Imaging is retricted - everything is inside your head - but individual
instruments are nicely located.

Pootling through Kind of Blue on YouTube and this sounds pretty damn good.
Neutral, balanced, well-defined.  Only the very top end is missing space.

Andrew